The greatest of months, if not only to celebrate my greatness. We have finally arrived to a monthlong festival of all things Me. And lo, all was right in the world.
So what did my dumb ass do?
Commit to a Album Challenge for December.
Son of a bitch.
Nah, see, this is gonna be good, ’cause I have lots of ideas floating around and it’ll be nice to have a goal to finally put them down and get them done. The caveat is that I gotta start from scratch: No Presets! Which, in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, but I tend to take an inordinate amount of time tweaking out on sounds and timbres when I should be focusing on the composition. All good, though. Gonna make the RADIAS pay!
Before this happens, however, I have one more Man Thing to accomplish: Football Road Trip!
Well, it’s become a bit more than that, now, being that we got tickets to the Coyotes game on Saturday night in addition to the Cardinals
loss game on Sunday. So we’ll drive out early Saturday morning, burrito in hand, ready to Sports.
Ivonne and Reza are not even close to wanting to do this shit, so Siebs and I are making our way to greatness. Only stipulation? (Standard stipulation, mind you) is to… Say it with me…
“Don’t get arrested.”
My super beard won’t allow it.
Speaking of which, I’m kinda digging this whole beard thing. Ivonne? Hmm… Not so much, although she’s putting up with it mightily. Ok, in reality, she doesn’t mind the look but the feel is no bueno, especially for kissing. So I keep my mouth restricted to…
Oh, I got off track! So the beard is awesome. It’s growing. It’s what beards do. And I’m oiling it with some rad-ass Beard Whiskey which smells delightful in that manly sort of delightful way. Manly delight. Every morning. Delight.
But it’s almost time to start thinking about how I’ll groom said beard. Shall I square it off and remain formidable? Should I trim the sides and taper to a point? Who knows, man, but I have a feeling the beard is going to do what the beard is going to do. What it can’t do, however – due to work restrictions on facial hair – is allow it to become an unruly facial beast capable government coups, so we gotta be careful; with no more than an inch to work with – an angry inch, mind you – I’ll see where this leads me.
Right now, though, it’s leading me home. Time to put on some Hardcore History and see my girls.
I like that term, ‘Echo Chamber’. The visual sense of being in a concrete box with nothing but your own voices, and voices like yours, to enrage at captivity. Seems fitting, really. So I wonder if it’s not time to start being part of the solution.
I was talking to Stats yesterday about where we find ourselves and there’s a distinct sense of dismissal of opinions, a sincere lack of trying to see where others coming from. Who is the first to reach out to understand? Me? You?
If I’m willing to give, others will take. But should that stop me?
Ah, Thanksgiving. Tryptophanic paradise, for sure, and I worshipped at her gates for days. Eat, sleep, rinse, repeat, and you know what? I gave zero fucks. It was awesome to do nothing and be applauded for it, because four days of sleeping, relaxing, watching the rain roll in from the ocean takes it toll. Gotta prep for that shit. Exercise. All that.
Reza’s going through an interesting Know It All phase which isn’t unheard of or abnormal but damned annoying nonetheless. Everything has an answer. Everything has a smarmy comment attached. I’d been meaning to sit her down and discuss it but waited until we go home, simply because I wanted to see how she’s swim in those currents. Not well.
It’s the same story we all know and love: Attempts to make oneself look and seem smart, funny, social, and amazing spectacularly backfire because she’s trying too hard. She wants so badly to be part of the conversation, to say something that makes everyone laugh, to be an adult at the adult’s table and win an inordinate amount of praise and adulation but she’s diving headlong into a social brick wall and hurting herself in the process: People pull back from her because they don’t want that kind of interaction, which, in turn, causes her to try even harder and the cycle repeats itself. That’ll stunt a personality like whoa and I can’t have that.
We had a nice long conversation about it yesterday. She cried and hugged me and felt pretty embarrassed about it and hopefully learned a lesson. But she’s 10. Those lessons need to be drilled in more than once to make any impact. But I think she’s having the same kinds of issues at school, so hopefully we can expound upon those and really show her how to maneuver; she’s about to enter a phase of life that’s awkward at best, emotionally debilitating at worst. Please, read the flags, girl, and avoid the storm.
I’m reading the second volume of a Theodore Roosevelt biography, the first part of which was destructively amazing, painting a larger-than-life picture of a truly larger-than-life man. The second volume is a bit more tedious, if only because we’re seeing that even such a massive personality can’t help but be beholden to the gravity of his office, even if he arrived there by the assassination of his predecessor; many people don’t realize that Roosevelt was only elected to the office of the presidency once.
I’d like to be able to say that this ability to embrace the gravitas of the office may bode well for a demagogue in this position, but I fear that hope is untimely and old-fashioned. On numerous occasions Roosevelt knew the power he held and chose to restrain himself so as not to poison the idea of his role. Unfortunately, there is no Roosevelt in the office in 2017.
I may live to regret my words, but regardless of the cataclysmic upheaval of the political landscape, I see more damage coming in the form of social, moral, and environmental reversals that would require Reza and her generation to try to undo that damage with a second Civil Rights movement. I don’t know what that means, in truth, but it might be just what the doctor ordered for a few generations who have been sick with lethargy for decades now. We’ve been shown too many examples in the historical record of societies becoming soft and complacent and assuming that everything is just gonna be a-ok. Maybe she’s going to need to fight for it and maybe that’s not a bad thing. I’ll have to think on this more.
I’ve read two reviews of Final Fantasy XV now and I’m not going to read any more. I’m going to jump into that game like I’m 15 again and fuck all of you. Time to race some Chocobos.
One last thing: I think it’s hysterical to see the shift in public opinion on Fidel Castro since his death on Monday. Our witches are no longer wicked, only misunderstood and slightly impressive if we think about it. Cracks me up. We are all forgiven in death.
I don’t think you really know who she is. Not like I do.
The old timers will know: When you spend fifteen years with someone, a proto-symbiosis forms, in that, her movements become yours, her heartbreaks become yours and, if you’re lucky, you know what she’s thinking while she’s thinking it. You can palpably feel her buoyancy, her expectations, her needs – an implicit homogenization that scares people and changes, not only how they see you, but how they see her as well. But you forgive those oversteps because how could anyone else truly see her heart? You’d have it no other way.
So let me introduce you to Ivonne.
She’s 42 today. She won’t like me telling you that, but a part of her, bigger than she’d ever admit, is really fucking proud of how good she looks for her age, and dammit, she’s fucking fine. She’s on this mission to create for herself a strong space – physical and mentally – that prepares her for the next phase of her life, like when a newborn turns head down prior to birth. She knows something’s coming. She can feel it. She’s getting ready. And I’ve never seen a more beautiful chrysalis in all my life.
Contrary to what you might think, Ivonne will not stab you in the neck for no reason. She’ll need a very good reason to cut you, but make no mistake: she will fuck you up. Now, that’s not to scare you off. By now you kinda expect that, eventually, she’s gonna have to kick your ass, but the truth is that without provocation, she’s one of the kindest and most gentle people you’ll ever meet: She takes spiders outside so our cats won’t kill them. She will stop the car to make sure a dog doesn’t get hit. She will let her brother in law sleep on the couch while getting back on his feet. She puts up with my snoring and this, friends, is a god damned Christmas Miracle.
The fact that she loves me, though, is beyond explanation.
Unapologetically, she can and will talk a gang of shit. This, dear reader, is one of her greatest strengths. Because if you need someone your side, someone to defend you and promote you and make you feel like you are the greatest person on the planet, she’s the one that’ll do it. If you cross her, you deserve the discomfort. Simple as that. This is her kitchen and if you don’t like the heat, go sit down and get the fuck out of her way.
She’s one of the greatest mothers I’ve ever known, this from a woman who didn’t know if she was gonna be any good. You should meet the child she’s raising – smart, strong, willful, sassy, confident and loyal. Sound familiar?
I see her shake when she speaks truths that she knows will hurt me. I see her cry when she worries about her friends. I see her pick herself up when she’s been discarded, simply to brush the dirt off. I see her rage when she’s dismissed and marginalized. I see her fret when she hopes for good reviews and through all these things, I see bravery every minute of every day. Bravery.
There’s only so much you get to see from the outside looking in. You can and probably have formulated an idea of who she is and what she’s about, and while I applaud your attempts at approximation, you can’t but be absolutely and spectacularly incorrect. I’ve never known someone so deep, so complex, so amazing and volatile as this woman and my life is completely ruined: I’m addicted to her and I willfully submit.
Honey, you are, without a doubt, the greatest woman on this planet and I can’t find the words. Me. Words. I can’t find them. The space you occupy is power incarnate, electric in form and fashion. I am beyond grateful that you were born today and that, somehow, you manipulated space and time to find yourself here with me. I love you beyond compare.
Happy birthday, true love!
I walked through the door to a small, movable end table laden with a card, a package, and a laminated third-grade version of a Father of the Year – the French edition – of Time Magazine. I’m pretty sure that’s a huge black cock on the cover in the guise of a hockey stick. Ivonne, blaring We Are The Champions, pumped her fists as I laughed and laughed, Reza mimed on the step stool in a rock stance only a Good Dad could teach and I had no doubt that this was going to an absolutely phenomenal day.
So here I sit, unintentionally in the same shirt she drew on the cover of the aforementioned Time Magazine – French edition – cover, in front of the synthesizers and cup of coffee she drew opposite the
black cock hockey stick, very much looking forward to the 12:30 reservations at Shogun, very much thankful for such an amazing family, mostly because I’m not a Great Dad, really.
The older I get – strike that: The more time passes between me and a transgressor, the less sharp those offenses become. I’m not sure if that’s the hallmark of a forgiving nature or the insistence on letting time heal those wounds, but sometimes I wish I could compartmentalize the reasons why I had issues with someone’s behavior without hanging on to the vitriol that encases it. I’d like to be able to look back at reasons in a vacuum, independent of the emotion that went along with it, you know? To examine it, like an imperfect diamond.
But I don’t work that way: I’m far too attached to emotional foundations, so it all fades into the distance the way storm clouds that couldn’t quite exhaust themselves slip quietly down the horizon. I start thinking, ‘oh, it couldn’t have been that bad,’ squinting to find the thinnest of silver linings while standing in the wreckage of my trailer.
I don’t even know whether my Dad tried to be a good one. He certainly tried to mold us in his image, the perfect compliment to his utopian dreams of farms, self-sustenance, and the Bible. In his own mind, of course he’s not wrong; rarely do we step outside of ourselves to question our motives, but I have to assume, as he reads his Daily Text in the driver’s seat of his motor home, he looks back on all of us to wonder where he went wrong. Probably not, though. Satan’s pull is just too strong on the weak willed. We turned our backs from God. That’s not his fault.
But you can learn just as much about what not to do from people as you can from getting a good example. Almost more so.
My Dad didn’t truly live. He coasted along, taking advantage of the situations and moments, twisting them in the guise of God’s Will when, even as a kid I could see something was off. The older I got, the more jaded I became, but I never had the sack to question it to his face, always subversive, always sneaky, never bold or forthcoming. I was too afraid of the consequences, of being kicked out or shunned or any other of the myriad of emotionally abusive tenants.
But we had a roof over our heads, even if I was the one providing it at times. We had food on the table, even if it was purchased with Food Stamps and downturned faces. We got to see most of the western half of the United States, even if it was usually another late gold rush to a new ghost town. It’s funny how even temperatures can invoke memories.
Now, my Father, on the other hand, I didn’t really know. He was killed at the age of 33 and any recollection of him is, unfortunately, opaque in many ways for many reasons. But he left when we were young and his reasons were his own, but I have to assume the promise of what might have been is brighter than the reality of what would have. I don’t really know.
So when I look at it, I have two examples of races that weren’t finished; one journey ended much too early, another cut short by a participant that simply stopped in the middle, sat down, and said ‘I’m done,’ – pulled tight by the common thread of the ‘what if’ that binds them.
But me? See, I look around at the life I’ve built, now with two beautiful women with whom I am privileged to share it, and I’m thankful for the examples I’ve been given. No, there are days when I don’t want to get up, days when I want to brush everything off my desk with a single stroke of an arm and walk out, days when I wonder what monastic life must truly be like, days when I have to stand in the mirror and invoke true courage, days when I relive embarrassing memories rather than appreciate the present, and that’s all part of being human.
It’s a good life, if you don’t weaken.
There comes a point, though, an unceremonious moment when we uncouple from our parents and we move away into the world with nothing truly on our backs but our clothes and 0ur hearts. We have no idea how important we are to our parents until we become parents ourselves, and by that time – sometimes – it’s too late to express that appreciation. Because if we’re being honest, my Dad wasn’t the best Dad, but I had one. My Father was gone, but I had one. Lots of kids out there didn’t, and don’t, or truly need to be free of theirs. I know both of them loved me – and gave up – in their own ways. And if for nothing else, I am here because of them. But I have no idea what it meant to have that father figure in the truest and non-George Michael sense.
The absence of example is just as influential as an abundance.
Unlike some, though, I was born to be a Dad. And I’m a Good Dad. Not a Great Dad. Not yet. That’s for someone else to decide.
Wow, that went a direction I didn’t expect. Wasn’t meant to be a treatise on shitty parenting, and I guess it kinda came off that way, but fuck it. It’s hot, I’m tired now (eight hours to finally get this post off the ground after Internet Arguments, Tasty Lunches, Tasty Naps and Smarmy Children) and I wanna watch the Game of Thrones finale.
As soon as Reza’s done with Voltron.
That’s some sacrifice. 😉
Ivonne gave me a gorgeous edition of Dune today. Absolutely perfect, she is.
I am absolutely, unequivocally, on a post-Cure Show high this morning. So much so that I’m a little freaked out by it, in truth. Infused with energy, I’m thinking of errands I can run, things to do around the house and shit to wash; I even trimmed my beard. During hockey season, this is unheard of.
Oh, that’s right! I need to go get my car washed! Sweet!
So I’m gonna drink some coffee, get more amped than I already am, and ponder the greatness that was last night’s show.
I honestly can’t remember how many times I’ve seen them now. I think it’s 11? 12? But in the day and age of digital/print-at-home tickets, I’ve got nothing to show for those moments in time beyond memories I can’t necessarily share. The tangibility of the paper tab kept me linear in time, but I digress.
That said, it’s been a shit ton. And every one have had their absolutely ridiculous moments.
Like Cockatoos, the very first time I saw them, in Eugene.
Plainsong, front row center at a winter festival show in Portland.
Faith, as the sun was going down over the Gorge.
100 Years, at the wrong show at the Greek in LA.
This Twilight Garden, last night.
Now, let me frame this for a second: Regardless of the fact that Wish is a spectacularly nostalgic album for me, I would argue that, with a few necessary modifications – replacing Trust with Halo, Wendy Time with This Twilight Garden, and Cut with The Big Hand – it would have rivaled Disintegration and you can Fuck Off, ’cause I’m right. But it was the quiet gem of This Twilight Garden, tucked on a b-side of High, sparkling under ironic melancholy, that was the most pure and unadulterated love song of that era; if I had to list my Top 5 Cure Songs under pain of death, This Twilight Garden will always be at the top, if for nothing else than what it’s become in my heart over the years: Three and a half minutes on a lifetime of seas.
In that vein, when they played it last night, it wasn’t a monumental surprise – the internet is a terrible place to keep a setlist secret – but every show is rife with clouds in your chest that maybe, just maybe, you’ll be the unlucky one and the moment will be given to someone else, somewhere else. And while my appreciation for the now grows newer as I grow older, I couldn’t help but… well… wish.
So when depths are plumbed with the sonar of that initial guitar note, I was once again 16 and innocent, 18 and defiant, 21 and devastated, 25 in love, 41 and able to die.
Of course, there are still a few bucket list candidates out there – Fear of Ghosts and A Foolish Arrangement to name just two – but on a gorgeously cold and moonlight night, that shit happened and it was legendary.
So I’m gonna wear my tour t-shirt today, I’m gonna leverage this inspiration into music of my own and fuck man, they played This Twilight Garden last night. Fuck.
That actually happened.
This weekend was absolutely outstanding. Granted, I wish Ivonne had been feeling better, but Reza and I decided to make the best of it with, well, greatness.
Friday was April Fools Day and I was only bamboozled once, really, and that was because IGN had some Star Wars ‘news’. Those dicks know how to set a hook and I chomped like a monk in a whorehouse. All good though. That split second I thought we might be up for something cool, the calendar reminded me of my folly. Can’t win them all.
I was just happy to walk off property that night still employed. Others weren’t so lucky.
But, coming home to an amazingly cool evening presented the canvas upon which I would paint the weekend. Kinda.
So I had a hair appointment on Saturday morning, but that’s JC Gets To Sleep In Day and I’m lazily tossing around bed when I realize it kinda feels a bit later than like, 9:00. Yeah, by like an hour and forty minutes and I’m due in the chair by 11:00. Rad.
Thankfully, I’m 10 minutes, if that, from E&J so that shit worked out like a champ. Got done, grabbed Reza, popped off to Sushi lunch (Happy Hour Lunch on Saturday at Shogun is no joke.) and promptly set off for Goldsmith where we finally purchased her first set of clubs. Dude. It gets better.
Ivonne had plans with E&J later that night, but Reza and I were kinda meandering a bit, trying to figure out what we were gonna do. Her? Let’s play Final Fantasy. Me? Let’s go to the hockey game.
Reza’s first hockey game was an absolute winner. Gulls won, she got to go nuts in the stands, we sat way up high where she could scream her heart out and see the full length of the ice and she had an absolute blast. Welcome to the Jungle on the way home was cool, sure, but “Dad, I wanna play hockey,” was the real music to my ears.
This morning we woke up, got dressed had a quick bite to eat and set out for the driving range and lemme tell you, if I can keep her head down, the girl is gonna be good. She’s got power and strength, but she likes to lift with her legs. Sounds like someone else I know. But she’ll get there. A bit of putting and we’re home by 11:30 with nothing ahead of us but chilling.
We get in our FFVII time, she plays some legos and watches shows while Ivonne hangs artwork and I cook up the framework of a track that actually might be good. Blues win, 16 otter pops ingested and Daredevil still on the horizon?
Yeah. Rad weekend was rad.
Reza’s been writing lately. She likes to go into her room before bedtime, pop up her word processor and write her stories. I am so in love with this, you have no idea. Please let this be a start of something wonderful.
I, on the other hand, am wallowing in some sort of melancholy right now and I have no idea why. Not that it’s either here or there, but it is. I think I’m anxious to get this going. I think I’m anxious about getting what I want.
That’s it right there. I’m getting what I want.
Every now and then, when I’ve had a particularly hard day, I’ll close my eyes and listen and tell myself, the hologram of a nine year old, that I just want to go home. And I’m fucking terrified.
Not of the being but the inherent responsibility that goes along with being handed everything you’ve wished for. Will we make different choices? Will we be better than we are today? Fuck, I hope so.
It’s so fucking frustrating. Shit is moving and shaking. In the works, as you might say, but not for public consumption. That’s so…. yeah. Anyway.
So I got word the other day that R. Scott Bakker’s new book may be coming out soon? That was some rad fucking news. Here’s to hoping, ’cause I need to get my Epic Fantasy on like a lonely Wizard Cock in want of Witch Pussy.
And finally, the Cardinals are …. fuck. Not gonna say it. Jinxes are real.
The universe may have sex with me at any time, now.
I’ve been toying with melodies lately, namely, toying with progressions and key changes. It’s funny, ’cause the moment it actually start sounding like a song is when I go, “oh fuck, that sounds like a song and that’s a massive cock bag,” and end up ditching it. I had the inkling of that earlier.
Not gonna do that with this track though. I’ve got a framework and I’m sticking to it and please help me baby Jesus finish this fucking song and move on.
All of this shit is a lesson in completion. Not that right-on-I’ve-always-got-my-hand kind of completion, but that this-is-all-a-learning-experience kind of completion and supposedly that’s supposed to make me a better musician and person? We’ll see about that.
Suffice to say this song is fucking sad, dude. I mean, shit. I wanna go sit in a corner and flick my own nipples over and over and over again until they’re raw and I can’t sleep ’cause now I’m uncomfortable and need to take some aspirin.
Evoking that kind of emotion with music is cool and I’m pretty proud of myself.
It’ll still be a shit song though.
So I’m getting back into the hang of writing on a daily basis and I’m not gonna lie and say it’s been easy. Everything I write has seem banal and uninteresting, but that’s square on my own expectations, I suppose. That’s what I get for reading Salman Rushdie. That guy is a fucking Wizard – capital W – and we can’t all be him.
We can god damned well try, though.
I’ve been inspired by Ivonne, though, ’cause you can see her development as an artist by sitting down every day and doing something. It may never see the light of day. It may sit in a box until all of a sudden you get a massive amount of people beating down your door wanting every scrap. There really doesn’t seem to be a middle of the road with thing like that, and I’m really looking forward to getting to the point where I know it’s good. I’ve been there before and gave zero shits and It’s really not that hard to get there again.
All of it in the name of writing a fucking book. Am I sure I want to do this?
It’s a good premise, and I’d do myself a massive disservice by not trying at the very least. Conceptually, character design is part and parcel of the individual writing the prose, so it’s perfectly fine to explore the cognitive passageways in hopes of reaching the garden at the core: each twist and turn opens up more of the maze; even dead ends reveal something, even if it wasn’t the way.
So today, I could be carefree and inconsequential. Tomorrow I could be formal and uptight. The next I could be a blubbering mess of unconfident crapcakes. Who knows? I’ve gotta get into the habit of tapping into those emotional states and writing inside of them, because I work better Method Writing. I feel it more in that place and that’s when it really matters.
At this juncture, I need to strike while the emotional iron is hot. Later, I can put myself into that place when the story and character requires.
That’s the plan anyway.
For now, I’m gonna take my headphones off, go read a book and chill with my lady.
Maybe she’ll let me see her titties.
So I’m at this place with a track I’m working on where I really like it. It’s got potential. Like, real potential to be cool.
But I know myself too well and in about six days I’m gonna hate the fuck out of it.
So I’m taking a new tack with it, in that I’m working on it in spurts. Listen to it for a minute, make a few modifications, add a thing, subtract a thing, and when I like it enough that I’ve listened to the refrain ten times or so, I quit Ableton and move on to something else – the recap of the Blues game, dust off a blog, some shit like that.
Now, all I need to do is figure out how to deconstruct what I have, turn it into a composition – all without hating it – and get it released. I’ve got a few more weeks (‘woo!’ to self-imposed guidelines), but I’ll do it.
I had some time to really think about how I wanted to pull a novel/story/book together and I think I’ve finally got an outline I can work with. Oddly enough, all it took was a few afternoons with a few adult beverages and voila. Unlocked and in route.
What I struggle with now is how to go back and read my notes without slamming my journal closed in disgust.
I really have a problem with unfinished work, almost to the point of self-sabotage. Fucking sucks.
So I rolled back from Mexico with some pretty cool gifts for people, and being one of those guys that is a shitfuck of a present-buyer-and-giver, I was stoked that all the things I got for people actually worked.
I got my boss (not brown nosing. Fuck you.) a cool calavera and gave the second to a super cool lady who’s eventually going to knit me a black super hero cape out of yarn because I shamed her into it. I mean, fuck, why does that little kid get a cape and I don’t? That’s what I thought.
Anyway, best gifts are best – especially when they start becoming Urban Legends.
Does Payroll really have Mexican Wrestling Masks?
I wonder how that happened. What the shit?
I guess my boss walked by their office today and gave them the What The Actual Fuck before shaking his head and walked off, basking in incredulity.
Who’s in the house? JC!
I’ve written music and words and now I need to go read a bit before I go to bed.
New habits and all…
Kneel before Zod!
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